EDitorial ± 27-Mar-2002

Going Dutch

To Amsterdam this past weekend: hoorah! Without the kids too: double hoorah! Vrijdag, Zaterdag and Zondag were powered by:

Eurostar / boiled egg breakfast in bed / steppin' out in front of bikes / Johnny Jordaan / Australian chocolate truffles / Rommelmarkt flea market / drop / Indian at Himalaya / getting lost / the Golden Bend / Gary's muffins / Dom Joly accents / Sam Taylor-Wood's still life / Indonesian rijsttafel at the Sea Temple / Seinfeld & Watley / aching legs

Canal boat   Johnny Meijer, accordionist

Figurehead   Watch out, a tram!   No parking   Skinny bridge

Begijnhof   Van Gogh mural   Rijksmuseum

Tot ziens!


EDitorial ± 18-Mar-2002

Hold The Front Page

Newspapers: great, aren't they? For the price of a can of Dr Pepper's finest you can gain access to the insights of dedicated journalists around the world. Those wizened hacks are out there, on the edge, asking those questions that really demand answers, simply to bring you the very latest on rigged elections, the Middle East conflict and that nice Will Young.

Published in London and Manchester

Every night the presses roll, knocking out thousands more words on hundreds more stories. Which can present a problem. You see, I don't like to throw away the paper until I've wrung it dry of news. A casual flick through from national through international to business to sport is fine if time is pressing, but not enough to merit relegation to the recycling pile.

If you wanna know about the mad punk rockers
If you wanna know how to play guitar
If you wanna know 'bout any other suckers
You can read it in the Sunday papers
— Sunday Papers, Joe Jackson

Is it obvious that we're talking broadsheets, not red-tops? I'd guess that it can't take long to "do" the Currant Bun, and perhaps its 4,000,000 readers will back me up. Even buying the paper only on Thursdays and Saturdays quickly leads to a plethora of newspulp. Chatting to the other Guardian reader at work, I was relieved to hear that he shares my reluctance-to-bin. His strategy is to tear out articles to read at some unspecified future time, resulting in pile after pile around the house.

One answer is to digest the day's news online. Which is fine (for short periods) at work, but doesn't compare to lying back in a hot bath while reading the latest column by the Junior Doctor. Now that's good clean fun, if a little inky.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 11-Mar-2002

Fruits Of The Loom

I suspect you're a little like me. Not everything has a place, and even those things that do have places aren't often to be found in those places. Worse still, things stored in the right place shouldn't really be there at all. Lost you already?

Take my T-shirts. Please. It hit me this evening (as they threatened to flop off the shelf, albeit in a neatly folded fashion) that there's simply too many of the blighters. It's no coincidence that if you acquire, say, "n" shirts a year, and throw away, say, "x"  shirts in the same period, you'll have a non-Euclidean positive surplus on your hands pretty darn soon. See, good at maths, me. So I've decided, like an existentialist anti-hero played by Russell Crowe, to act.

16th European Juggling Convention, Leeds 1993

Being an educated God-fearing reader, you'll know that it was Paul, in his email attachment to the Corinthians, who said that he put away childish things when he became a man. Whereas I find myself with:

  • 4 juggling convention T-shirts (Coventry 1992, Birmingham and Leeds 1993, and Manchester 1994)
  • 3 Red Nose Day T-shirts, including a hypercolour effort from the late 80s
  • an orange Frisbee T-shirt from around the same time

Seen BBC2's Life Laundry? I can hear that woman's voice telling me to ditch these items and move on. She's right, naturally, and that's the rub. Wonder if I can send them off to a safe home via the universal bargain bin that is ebay?

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

  1. it's history: the T was apparently introduced by the US Navy in 1942, "a knitted cotton undershirt"
  2. it's a mystery: that Charlie George shirt has to go
  3. it's a truism: and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 4-Mar-2002

Radiophonic Workshop

Scouring through the loft at the weekend for old music magazines that might fetch a couple of quid - yesterday was free listing day on ebay - I chanced upon one of my oldest possessions: the Dr Who Radio Times Special from 1973.

I dimly recall being with my dad when we bought this from Smith's in town. I was all of seven years old. This remarkably detailed full colour magazine celebrated ten years of the good doctor, featuring Jon Pertwee on the cover being pursued by a Dalek, a Cyberman and a Sea Devil. And you think you're having a bad day sometimes!

You are the doctor. You are the enemy of the Daleks. You will be exterminated.

Cover price was 30p, much more than any pocket money I used to get (half of which went on Shoot! each week). Significantly for the real fans, it was among the first publication to list each of the individual stories, starting with An Unearthly Child in 1963:

Susan Foreman, 15, is Dr Who's grand-daughter and goes to Coal Hill School, London. Two teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, go to investigate her home background. Home is a police box which is in fact a Tardis (standing for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), Dr Who's dimensionally transcendental spaceship. The old doctor plunges them all back to the Earth of 100,000 BC - and capture by a skin-clad tribe which has lost the secret of fire. Two leaders, Kal and Za, are in a power struggle. The Doctor shows Za how to make fire, by rubbing two sticks together. Za wants them to stay, but by a ruse they escape to the Tardis.
Sample stories include:
  • Claws Of Axos - 1970/1
  • The Curse Of Peladon - 1972/3
  • Planet Of The Spiders - 1973/4

I remember watching The Three Doctors, a big telly event, round my Nana's. More vividly there was one particular storyline - perhaps The Daemons? - where some small creature came to life in the back seat of a car. That gave me one or two sleepless nights.

Don't think I was ever a huge fan, and I drifted away once Tom Baker and his scarf had departed. I always did enjoy the change from one doctor to the next, though they started to tumble like Premiership managers as time went by. Given that it's been off our screens for so long, I wonder how many 16 year olds have ever seen it?

Can't stop thinking of that creature in the car now. I might leave the landing light on tonight.

Be seeing you!